Washington Capitals Prospect Report – November, 2021: Joe Snively And Bear Hughes Continue To Surge

Welcome to the second installment of NoVa Caps’ Washington Capitals Monthly Prospects Report for the 2021-2022 season. This report summarizes activities for each of the Capitals’ prospects for the month of November, 2021.  

The report is categorized by leagues/regions in which each prospect plays:

  • AHL (Hershey Bears)

Previous Monthly Prospect Reports for 2021-22 Season

[You can access all of our prospect news and analysis on our “Prospects” page located in the top menu]


November was not a good month for the Hershey Bears. Beset by injuries and callups, the chocolate and white struggled to a 4-5-1 record for the month. Hershey’s final game of November was postponed due to COVID-19 issues.

The Bears currently sit in fourth place in the American Hockey League’s (AHL) Atlantic Division with a points percentage of .559. They have 19 points on the season.

Hershey surrendered 44 goals in 10 games during the month. They twice gave up seven goals in a game and the once vaunted Hershey penalty kill fell apart. The Bears conceded 17 power play tallies during November and allowed power play goals in nine of their 10 games, including the last eight contests of the month.

The chocolate and white were shorthanded 58 times in November and gave their opponents 19 power plays in their last two games against Providence and Rochester. The lack of discipline does not help when the penalty kill is struggling.

Another aspect where the Bears struggled was defensive structure. There have been far too many occasions when Hershey has left players open in prime scoring positions. This suspect coverage has put the team’s goaltenders in a tough spot. The goals against might not suggest it, but the netminders actually played fairly well during the month. They did not receive a lot of help from the team in front of him.

Offensively, the brightest star was Joe Snively. The Herndon, Virginia native led the way with 14 points and now tops the team’s scoring list. Mike Sgarbossa posted seven points and Garrett Pilon added six.

ALEX ALEXEYEV (LD/RD) – 22 – Drafted 2018 (First Round, 31st overall)
Alexeyev’s offensive game has disappeared. The Russian defender had nine points in 17 games with the Bears last season, but has only recorded points in two games so far this season. He dished out a pair of secondary assists in the third period against Springfield on November 7. Alexeyev was held without a point in the last seven games of the month.

He has also been taking a lot of penalties. The St. Petersburg, Russia native has been whistled for a penalty in five straight games and in six of his last seven. Alexeyev was tossed from the game on November 26 against the Rochester Americans a for secondary altercation.

With Hershey’s recent difficulties on the penalty kill, Alexeyev taking penalties is a problem for the Bears. He has had coverage and positioning issues defensively, and that has led to some of his penalties.  Alexeyev has also turned the puck over more than we;ve grown accustomed to.

Its a very slow start for Alexeyev, considering where his game was at the end of last season and in the KHL last season. He’s got plenty of time this season to turn things around and is expected to do just that.


KODY CLARK (RW) – 22 – Drafted 2018 (Second Round, 47th overall)
Clark netted Hershey’s first goal of the month with a first period tally at Springfield on November 5. He deposited the rebound off of a Lucas Johansen shot.

The native of Chicago, Illinois added an assist against the same Thunderbirds team on November 7. Clark then went on five game scoreless drought. He snapped out of that streak with the secondary assist on Mason Morelli’s overtime winner against Providence on November 24.

Clark closed out the month with a shorthanded marker in the loss to Rochester on November 26. He took a pass from Joe Snively and shot up and over the Rochester goalie to put the Bears on the scoreboard. The son of former NHL winger Wendell Clark has been thrust into a penalty killing role with the depleted roster.

Clark has shown moments of excellent play, but consistency is his issue right now. Because of injuries, Clark has only logged 66 AHL games to date, which would still make him a rookie in many aspects. He needs to play every game this season.


PHEONIX COPLEY (G) – 29 – Undrafted
The numbers do not look good for Copley in November, but he honestly did not play that poorly. The team’s lack of discipline and defensive structure put the North Pole, Alaska native in a tough spot. He surrendered two shorthanded goals in a span of 44 seconds on the same power play against Lehigh Valley on November 10. Both goals came on breakaways after Hershey turned the puck over. On November 26, the Bears gave Rochester 10 power plays and the Americans scored on four of them. Rochester tallied seven times in that game and Copley was not at fault for most of them.

The veteran netminder did manage to win twice in five starts in the month. He turned away 34 shots in a 5-4 shootout victory over Syracuse on November 13. He also made two stops in the shootout. The Alaskan was particularly busy in the third period when he stopped 15 shots in a period where the Bears were dominated. Copley also came through in a come-from behind win against Charlotte on November 21. He was especially sharp during a lengthy five-on-three penalty kill in the second period. Copley came up with a huge save. Aleksi Heponiemi laced a shot from the right circle and the netminder came across and made a windmill glove save to keep the puck out. The victory moved Copley into seventh place on Hershey’s All-Time Wins list with 74. For the season Copley is 4-4-1 with a 3.40 GAA and a .874 save percentage.


ZACH FUCALE (G) – 26 – Drafted 2013 (Second Round, 36th overall – Montreal)
November saw Fucale make his long-awaited NHL debut. He made the most of his chance. He pitched a 21-save shutout over the Detroit Red Wings in a 2-0 Washington triumph. Fucale became the first Capitals goalie to record a shutout in his NHL debut.

With the Bears, the Laval, Quebec native got the start in four games. He went 2-1-1. Fucale made 28 saves, as the Bears rallied for a 5-3 win over Springfield on November 7. In his next start on November 20, he was the victim of a complete defensive meltdown in the third period. A lack of defensive coverage put Fucale in a spot where he was not going to be able to stop the high quality scoring chances. The netminder did his best to keep the Bears in it with a couple of big stops. He stoned Johnny Brodzinski on an odd-man rush and then cleared the rebound off of the goal line before the puck crossed the line. Fucale was victorious in his final start of the month on November 24. He turned away 22 shots, including 10 in the third, as Hershey topped Providence 4-3 in overtime. For the season, Fucale is 4-1-2-0, with a 2.63 GAA and a .898 save percentage.


TOBIAS GEISSER (LD) – 22- Drafted 2017 (Fourth Round, 120th overall)
The Swiss born defender missed the last four games of the month with a lower body injury. Geisser was one of the Bears steadier defensemen at the time of his injury. This is because he knows who he is as a defenseman. He does not try to do too much and stays strong, positionally. Geisser is not a roamer.

On the offensive side, the native of Stans, Switzerland needs to shoot more. He has often has open looks, but passes first. He recorded a single assist in the month and has two helpers on the season. He’s recorded just 20 shots in 13 games played so far this season.


SHANE GERSICH (C/LW) – 25 – Drafted 2014 (Fifth Round, 134th overall)
The good news is Gersich has started to contribute offensively after only registering a single assist in October. The move back to the wing as helped him to find his offensive game. He recorded primary assists on November 7 against Springfield and on November 14 versus Charlotte. The North Dakota product finally netted his first goal of the season on November 20 with an early second period marker.

Gersich added an assist in the same contest. His second goal of the season gave the Bears a lead early in the third period against Providence on November 24.

For the month, the Chaska, Minnesota native posted two goals and three assists to run his season total to six points. The move back to right wing improved Gersich’s defensive game early in the month, but like most of the team, he had his ups and downs in his own end during November. The final game of the month was especially tough for Gersich, as he was on the ice for all three of Rochester’s even strength goals. Gersich remains a tough-puck battled by using his speed to close gaps between he and the puck. He also continues to step-up the physical side of his game. He figures to be a bottom-six forward prospect for the Capitals, the only question, where would he fit?


LUCAS JOHANSEN (LD) – 24 – Drafted 2016 (First Round, 28th overall)
Having played a total of 14 games the past two seasons, little was expected of Johansen coming into the season. He continues to be a pleasant surprise. The Vancouver, British Columbia native has been team’s most consistent defenseman. In a month where the team leaked goals, Johansen, who turned 24 on November 16, managed to be a plus seven and only had a single game where he was minus player.

For the season, he has only been a minus twice in 17 games played. The former first round pick has the best plus/minus rating, plus nine, among Hershey defenseman, and is second on the team in that category. Offensively, Johansen contributed three assists in the month and now has six points on the season.


AXEL JONSSON-FJALLBY (LW) – 23 –  Drafted 2016 (Fifth Round, 147th overall)
The speedy Swede skated in the first two games of the month for Hershey, going scoreless. Jonsson-Fjallby then earned his first call up to the NHL. He played eight games for the Capitals and looked like he belonged. Jonsson-Fjallby recorded his first career NHL point with a primary assist on Garnett Hathaway’s second period goal. He returned to Hershey for the final two games of the month, but did not tally a point. The Swede is tied for the team lead in game-winning goals with two.

With regards to his NHL game, Axel did well with the pace of play, play-making, puck battles and play along the boards and seemed to function well with the speed of the NHL game. We still project him to be a future replacement for Carl Hagelin.


MICHAEL KEMPNY (LD) – 31 – Undrafted
We include Kempny, not as a prospect, but more so just to provide an update on his level of play in Hershey. November was a mixed bag for Kempny. The veteran blue liner contributed four assists offensively in the month. Three of the assists were primary assists and were the direct result of putting shots on the net. The overtime game winner against Providence came off a Kempny shot.

The Czech defender ripped a shot from the right circle that was turned aside by Providence goalie Troy Grosenick, but Mason Morelli put the rebound up and under the crossbar to the glove side. Defensively, Kempny had some struggles, but also made some quality plays. There were times when he struggled to handle speed. Kempny did make a couple of strong plays with the Bears down two men against Charlotte on November 21. He broke up two plays with his stick on the penalty kill and then got in front of another shot. Hershey killed off both penalties and would tie the game a few minutes afterwards.

On occasion you can sense some frustration on the part of Kempny, as he continues to battle for his return from Hershey, and that’s to be expected.

The bottom line, at this early stage in the season, is that he remains healthy (knocks in wood) and is playing every game. He needs to continue on that arc. For the season Kempny has no goals and five assists in 17 games played and is a -4.


BRETT LEASON (RW) – 22 – Drafted 2019 (Second Round, 56th overall)
Leason was called up to the Capitals on October 29 and made his NHL debut on Oct. 29 against the Arizona Coyotes.  He scored his first career NHL goal on November 1 against the Lightning.

Leason was re-assigned to the Bears on November 19 after T.J. Oshie and Nic Dowd were activated from injury reserve, but was immediately recalled to the team and remained with the team through the end of the month. He recorded three points (2g, 1a) in 14 games with the Capitals.

As for his game at the NHL, he too has shown he can play and make decisions at NHL-speed. He’s already using his size well down low and in and around the goal area, and learning each game. This will be a key part of his game going forward.


BECK MALENSTYN (LW/RW) – 23 – Drafted 2016 (Fifth Round, 145th overall)
Malenstyn was pointless in the first month of the season, but got on the scoresheet in November. He registered his first point of the campaign with a secondary helper on Cody Franson’s tying goal in the third period at Springfield on November 5. The native of Delta, British Columbia then tallied his first goal since February 16, 2020 in a matchup with Syracuse on November 13. Malenstyn wristed a low shot from the outside edge of the right circle into the net to give the Bears a 1-0 edge 43 seconds into the game.

He picked up another secondary assist at Hartford on November 20. Malenstyn seemed to find his game a little more in November and was recalled to the Capitals on November 24. He has played in three games with Washington and done fairly well so far. He scored his first NHL marker on November 30 against Florida. He was called for a late penalty in the game that led to the Panthers game winning goal, that dampened the occasion.

He has already been trusted on the penalty kill in a tight game, something that will be his role should he become a regular member of the Capitals lineup. He is also laying the hits, and blocking shots, all Malenstyn Hallmarks.

Malenstyn and Garrett Pilon were guests on the “Break the Ice” podcast with Mike Vogel in November.


DYLAN MCILRATH (RD) – 29 – Drafted 2010 (First Round, 10th overall – New York Rangers)
“The Undertaker” brings a physical presence to the Bears every game. Sometimes that physical play lands McIlrath in the penalty box, but he has been a reliable presence on the back end. The Winnipeg, Manitoba native was handed a two-game suspension for an elbowing incident against Providence on November 6 and missed Hershey’s games on November 13 and 14. Those are the only two games McIlrath has missed all season.

He netted his first goal as a Bear on November 20 against his old team, the Hartford Wolfpack. His shot found its way through traffic to give the chocolate and white a 3-2 lead in the second period. The goal was his first and only point of the season. McIlrath is one of two Hershey defenseman to hold a plus rating for the season. He is a plus four, only behind Lucas Johansen among the team’s blue liners.


BOBBY NARDELLA (LD) – 25 – Undrafted
The Notre Dame product made his season debut on November 7 versus Springfield after missing the start of the season while recovering from an injury and wasted little time recording his first point of the season. He had the secondary assist on Mike Sgarbossa’s first period power play goal. The Rosemont, Illinois native added a pair of helpers in a game at Syracuse on November 13. He would not score a point in the final five games of the month.

Defensively, Nardella had some issues. In a game at Hartford on November 20, he had a turnover that led to the Wolfpack’s fifth goal. Nardella had the puck behind the net, but coughed it up. Austin Rueschhoff took the puck and passed to P.C. Labrie, who put his shot in. Nardella is an offense first defenseman and there are always going to be mistakes with those types of players. However, he does need to make smarter decisions with the puck in his own end. He needs to start the rush with good passes, not turn the puck over to the opposing team.

In the end, expect Nardella to rebound and catch fire, soon. He’s shown too many times that he is capable of scoring in bunches and it’s just a matter of time.


GARRETT PILON (RW) – 23 – Drafted 2016 (Third Round, 87th overall)
Pilon has tallied in his last three games with the Bears. The first of those was of the highlight reel variety and it came against Charlotte on November 14. He sped into the offensive zone, pulled the puck back and then dragged it through two Charlotte players. The Mineola, New York native then slid his shot through the five-hole of Charlotte goalie Joey Daccord to give Hershey a 1-0 advantage in the first period.

Pilon then got the call to go up to the Capitals the following day and played two games with Washington. He netted his first career NHL goal against the Anaheim Ducks when he deflected a Martin Fehervary shot into the net in the third period.

The son of former NHL defenseman Rich Pilon returned to the Bears and scored a goal on November 24 and 26.

In addition to his three November goals, Pilon also had three assists. On the season, he has 13 points, third most of the team. Pilon is also tied for second on the team in goals with seven.

Pilon and Beck Malenstyn were guests on the “Break the Ice” podcast with Mike Vogel in November.


BRIAN PINHO (RW) – 26 – Drafted 2013 (Sixth Round, 174th overall)
Pinho was injured in the first game of the month. In the second period of the Bears tilt with the Springfield Thunderbirds he would absorb a hit along the boards on his left side. He would not return to the game and missed the remainder of the month with a “lower body injury”.

This season is critical for Pinho to make his case for a bottom six position with the Capitals. He’s spent extended time with the Capitals in recent years, but at 26, and with other bottom six forward prospects surging, the time is starting to run out for Pinho.


ALIAKSEI PROTAS (C) – 20 – Drafted 2019 (Third Round, 91st overall)
The pivot skated in two games with the Bears in November. Protas dished out a first period assist against Springfield on November 7. Protas had a series of callups to the Capitals and returns to Hershey over the last month. On his third callup he remained with the Capitals and played in every game. Protas netted his first career NHL goal in Carolina on November 28. The Belarusian has also dished out three helpers with the Capitals.

Protas has demonstrated he is very close to an everyday role with the team, regardless of his near-term assignment. He continues to improve in puck battles at the NHL level and has shown the ability to create plays at NHL-level speed. He has demonstrated his physical play along the boards is also NHL-ready. The question will be, where will he fit in the near term, with regards to an everyday role in Washington. In the “big picture” sense, Protas remains ahead of schedule with regards to his projected development trajectory.


MIKE SGARBOSSA (C) – 29 – Undrafted
The veteran center compiled seven points in eight games in November. Sgarbossa potted five goals and now has a team-high eight tallies on the campaign.

He is second on Hershey’s scoring list with 14 points. The Campbellville, Ontario native had a three-point game against Charlotte on November 21. He tied the game late in the second period when he knocked home a rebound that came off the crossbar from a Michal Kempny shot. Sgarbossa then sped into the zone on a power play early in the third and fed a perfect pass through to Joe Snively, who converted the feed for the game-winning goal. The helper was his 200th AHL assist. Sgarbossa then secured the win with an empty net goal.

He was recalled to Washington and scored the Capitals’ third goal in a 6-3 victory over Montreal on November 24.

Sgarbossa remains a valuable asset to the Capitals organization as a whole, but is most valuable in Hershey on a regular basis.


HUNTER SHEPARD (G) – 26 – Undrafted
Shepard was given his first AHL start of the season against the Charlotte Checkers on November 14. Unfortunately for the Minnesota-Duluth alum, he did not get much help from the team in front of him. The Bears showed a lack of discipline that plagued them the whole month and gave Charlotte seven power plays, including a five-on-three advantage. The Checkers converted on four of those power plays. The lone even-strength tally for Charlotte came through a screen and Shepard never saw it.

The Coleraine, Minnesota native kept battling. Down 4-1 in the third period, Shepard denied Carson Twarynski on a two-on-one breakaway. He made 21 saves in the loss. The two-time NCAA national champion also started five contests for South Carolina in the ECHL during November. He posted a 2-2-1 record with the Stingrays.


JOE SNIVELY (LW) – 25 – Undrafted
After compiling three assists in October, Snively was on fire in November. The Yale University product amassed 14 points in November. He did not register a point in the first two games of the month, but tallied a hat trick against Springfield on November 7.

The second goal of his hat trick was the game-winner with 3:09 remaining in the third period.

His third goal of the game would come on an empty netter to seal the victory for the Bears.

Snively potted two more goals in a 5-4 shootout win over Syracuse. He also added an assist for his second three-point game of the month. Two games later Snively would score two more goals against the Syracuse Crunch on November 13.

Snively’s second goal against the Crunch.

The native of Herndon, Virginia would record another three-point game versus Charlotte on November 21. He had the secondary helper on Matt Moulson’s second period power play tally.

Snively put the chocolate and white ahead early in the third with a power play marker and then assisted on Mike Sgarbossa’s empty net goal and then finished off the month with a pair of two-point games. This included a shorthanded goal against Providence on November 24.

Snively leads Hershey with 10 assists and 17 points. He is also tied for second on the team with seven goals. His two game-winning goals is tied for the team lead. Snively also has the best plus/minus rating on the team with a plus 10.


RILEY SUTTER (C) – 22 – Drafted 2018 (Third Round, 93rd overall)
Sutter made his season debut at Springfield on November 5 and earned his first point of the season in the game with a secondary assist on Kody Clark’s opening goal. The native of Calgary, Alberta potted his first goal of the campaign with 10 seconds remaining in a 5-2 loss to Charlotte on November 14.

Sutter played in all 10 games in the month, but left the last game of November in the second period after missing a check and hitting the boards.

The Bears had center issues all month (injuries and callups), but Sutter really did not move up in the lineup. He has been surpassed by Mason Morelli, who is on an AHL contract.

At this point, Sutter needs to figure out a role for himself. He is not a strong offensive player, so his ticket to playing time is as a bottom six forward. He needs to tighten up his game defensively, improve his penalty killing and do all the little things that earns the trust of the coach.

Sutter was injured in the first period against Rochester on November 26 against and did not return to the game. He (#24) was skating into the corner and was trying to lay a hit, missed the hit and crashed into the boards on his left side. He left the ice favoring his shoulder.

Sutter is still young with regards to AHL experience. He has two goals and 13 assists in 60 AHL games played, which is still less than a full season.


MIKE VECCHIONE (C) – 28 – Undrafted
The Union College product had the primary assist on Cody Franson’s tying goal at Springfield on November 5. Unfortunately for Vecchione, that would be his lone action in the month. He suffered an injury during the game and missed the next nine games.



GARIN BJORKLUND (G) – 19 – Drafted 2020 (Sixth-Round, 179th Overall)
Bjorklund and the Medicine Hat Tigers slumped in November. The 19-year-old struggled during the Tigers 12-game losing streak, dropping four straight starts to start the month.

He said he’s just taking it day by day until things turn around. “Just have to take it day by day, focus on each and every shot, period by period, and hopefully things start to take a turn for ya,” Bjorklund said. “Just stay positive, help the younger guys and just do what I can to help the team find a way to win.”

Bjorklund stopped 28 of 32 shots between the pipes for the Tigers, but made a number of highlight reel saves in a loss to the Winnipeg ICE on November 20. The loss extended the Tigers losing streak to nine games.

Bjorklund struggled in his next start on November 23 as well. He was doing ok, giving up only three tallies into the third period, but gave up two late goals, one a power play goal, giving up five goals in total on 34 shots. The Tigers would lose their 10th straight game.

Bjorklund and Medicine Hat would get shelled again in Bjorklund’s final start of the month on November 27th. He gave up seven goals on 44 shots shots, as Medicine Hat extended their losing streak to 12 games.

Bjorklund started seven games, gave up 28 goals on 218 shots for a .871 save percentage in November. For the season Bjorklund 2-8-0 3.83 GAA and a .881 save percentage. We watched four of his games in the month of November, and at times it’s been difficult to ascertain the level of Bjorklund’s play. There are goals allowed that would be considered soft, but the lack of a solid defense in front of him leaves some uncertainty. He has shown some signs of mechanical breakdowns, but for the most part he has been relatively calm in the crease and somewhat solid on his positioning and angles to the shot. December will tell us much more.


HAAKON HANELT (F) – 18 – Drafted 2021 (Fifth-Round, 151st Overall)
Hanelt continued to miss games in the month of November. The team finally announced on November 19 that Hanelt required surgery and would be out several months.

“The Gatineau Olympiques have announced that forward Haakon Hänelt’s season has been compromised due to an upper body injury. The 18-year-old German will have to undergo surgery that requires several months of convalescence. Hänelt remained with the the team in order to be followed daily, and thus, to be evaluated by the medical staff of the team. The team said that further details will follow in the coming weeks.

Sources confirm Hanelt had his surgery on November 19th and his early recovery is going well. Hanelt will obviously miss any shot at this year’s World Juniors.

All injuries are unfortunate but this one is a little more. Hanelt was playing a pretty good game at the time of his injury, and doing well for a kid his age. We still believe this 5th round pick was a potential steal, but we will have to wait to see more. For the season Hanelt has a goal and four assists in seven games played, all in the middle of October.


MARTIN HAS – (RHD) – 20 – Drafted 2019 (Fifth-Round, 153rd Overall)
Has was dropped to the right side of second pairing beginning in November, but was solid for the month in that position. On November 13, against Hendrix Lapierre and Acadie-Bathurst, he posted a +1 when a majority of the the rest of the team was -1 or worse. He had a pair of assists in the second game of the month against Cape Breton.

Has recorded his third goal of the season on November 19 against the Gatineau Olympiques. The shot appeared to go off of an Olympique player.

Has scored his 4th goal of the season on November 26 against Chicoutimi Saguenéens.

In 12 games for Shawinigan, Has has four goals and two assists and a +1. After a solid camp and good preseason with the Capitals, Has just needs games. All signs point to Has as a candidate for the blueline in Hershey in September.


BEAR HUGHES – (20) – Drafted 2020 (Fifth-Round, 148th Overall)
Hughes also missed games at the beginning of the month (11/5, 11/6) due to injury.The next game between the Everett Silvertips and Spokane Chiefs on the 10th was postponed as a result of two positive tests for COVID-19 with players on the active roster of the Chiefs. As a result, the Chiefs would lay idol for 13 days and three games in the middle of the month.

The Chiefs and Hughes would return to the ice on November 19 against the Seattle Thunderbirds. Hughes would immediately return to the scoresheet on November 24.

“It was a quick transition. I got the puck and put it in an area where the defender went right between me and the puck,” Hughes said. “It worked out for me because he hesitated and I was able to go around him for a breakaway. The whole time I knew I was going to shot it and I wasn’t going to try and dangle.” The Chiefs won 2-1 and snapped a six-game losing streak.

Hughes would get back on the scoresheet on November 26 with a power play goal in the first period against Kelowna Rockets.

Hughes would return to the scoresheet in November 30 with a goal and two assists against Victoria. For the month, Hughes has seven goals and nine assists in 14 games played. He’s shot the puck 35 times for a 20% shooting percentage.

Although two years older than Haakon Hanelt, Hughes could be another diamond in the rough. We watched five of his games in November and he’s looked solid, both at even-strength and on the power play. The question now is will he be ready to suit up for the Hershey Bears in September? We are betting on it.


VINCENT IORIO (RHD) – 19 – Drafted 2021 (Second-Round, 55th Overall
Iorio remained out due to injury to start the month of November (11/5, 11/6). He returned to the lineup on November 11 and had the primary assist on the Wheat Kings first goal of the game. Iorio’ s outlet pass along the wall was a perfect feed for the breakaway score.

Iorio returned to the right side of the top pairing on November 19 against Moose Jaw, and would pot his first tally of the season. He would snipe from just inside the right circle to tie the game 1-1 in the first period.

Iorio would score again in his next game, this time against Medicine Hat on November 26.

Iorio was not on the top power play unit in the games we watched this season, but was consistently playing on the top penalty kill unit. For the season he has two goals and eight assists in 17 games played. He is a -1 and shot the puck 52 times for a 3.8% shooting percentage.

The Wheat Kings continue to struggle as a team so far this season, and some of the negative aspects of Iorio’s stats reflect that. We watched three games of his in the month of November and feel his play at this point in the season is fine. His exit/outlet passing skills continue to impress, using the boards for stretch-passes and quickly finding the right player to feed up the ice.

Iorio, who turned 19 on the 14th of the month, is in his 4th season in the WHL and will likely be headed to Hershey next fall unless he signs as an overage veteran for an additional season. He will need to step it up some if he plans to make it to Hershey next season, as the blueline if fairly competitive in Hershey for the for the next 12-18 months or so.

On November 1, Iorio was formally invited to Canada’s National Junior Team selection camp, beginning Dec. 9 in Calgary.


DRU KREBS (LHD) – 18 – Drafted 2021 (Sixth-Round, 176th Overall)
Dan Baker, the Tigers lone over-ager on the blue line, and Krebs have been the Tigers’ top pairing all season. Baker was asked about playing with Krebs. “I love playing with Dru, he’s an awesome skater and he gets back to pucks so quick it makes my job pretty easy,” Baker said. “It’s been an easy transition to play with him and we’re getting better as we keep going here so we’re going to keep building.”

For the month of November, Krebs had no goals and one assist in nine games played. For the season he has a goal and an assist in 20 games played and is a -16 on the ice. He’s shot the puck 24 time for a 4.2% shooting percentage.

Again, Medicine Hat has been terrible this season, and finished the month on an 12-game losing streak, so some of that might factor into Krebs’ performance. However, we watched several of his games and his game has been spotty at best at this point. Plenty of unforced errors, but that is to be expected. His puck handing and board battling has to improve, and it will.


HENDRIX LAPIERRE (C) – 19 – Drafted 2020 (First-Round, 22nd overall)
The Capitals announced November 10 that they had assigned forward Hendrix Lapierre to the Acadie-Bathurst Titan of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). Lapierre recorded a goal in six games with the Capitals this season but was seeing less playing time as the Capitals regular season progressed.

Lapierre was interviewed by TVA sports the day after he was assigned to Acadie-Bathurst. “Of course, in an ideal world, I would have stayed in Washington. However, I had a great opportunity to play games. It was up to me to grab it. I don’t think I did wrong, but maybe I didn’t do enough to stay on all year. However, I know that I made a huge leap in progress,” said Lapierre.

Before his departure from Northern Virginia, Lapierre met with the Capitals coaches and management. The native of Gatineau said they had very positive words for him prior to his return to Canada. “Their messages were very positive. They obviously gave me a few points that they would like me to work on. I do feel, however, that they have confidence in me and that’s all I can ask for.”

Lapierre knows there is still plenty of work to do before he makes his return to Washington. “I’m aware that I still have a lot to learn. I haven’t played a lot of games in the last few years. We have a good team in Bathurst and I think my year will be really good. What I want this year is to have fun playing hockey.” More of interview here.

Lapierre returned to games on November 13 against Martin Has and Shawinigan where he picked up a pair of assists, twice setting up linemate and Seattle Kraken draftee Jacob Melanson en route to a 6-4 victory and first-star honours.

Lapierre was then back at it again the next night as he notched another assist, this time coming against the Chicoutimi Sagueneens, his former squad.

Lapierre was the first intermission interview on November 19th. He commented on his time in Washington, his first goal in the NHL, his overall game and his current perspective on things.

Lapierre would be held off the scoresheet in his next game, but would return the next night with a primary assist on the Titan’s second goal.

Lapierre’s junior team, the Acadie-Bathurst Titan fired their head coach Mario Durocher on Thursday, November 26. The team started the season 9-9-2. Assistant Greg Leland assumed the duties on an interim basis.

Lapierre would pot his first goal of the season on November 28. He also had a pair of assists in the game.

Lapierre has seen steady time with both special teams as well. His penalty kill work was solid in the four games we watched in November. He had the half-wall position on the power play for the Titan, which may not be the best use of his skills.

For the month of November and for the season for Acadie-Bathurst, Lapierre had a goal and six assists in six games played. He’s shot the puck just 18 times for a 5.6% shooting percentage and was a -1 on the ice.

On November 1, Lapierre was formally invited to Canada’s National Junior Team selection camp, beginning Dec. 9 in Calgary.



CHASE CLARK (G) – 19 – Drafted 2021 (Sixth-Round, 183rd Overall)
Clark sustained an injury early in the month and missed several games. As a result he saw action in just one game and took the overtime loss to the Fargo Force on November 27. He gave up five goals on 29 shots, which is probably somewhat expected. His last start was on October 29th, nearly a month prior. For the season Clark is 3-1-1 with a 2.57 GAA and a .915 save percentage. Way too early and too few games watched to make any in-depth analysis at this point.


MITCHELL GIBSON (G) – 22 – Drafted 2018 (Fourth-Round, 124th overall)
Gibson’s first start of the month came on November 11 against No. 14/15 Cornell University. He stopped 34 of 36 shots faced for a .947 game save percentage as Harvard upset Dartmouth, 3-2. He would get the next night off, something that was rarely the case during the 2019-20 season.

Gibson stopped 15 of 17 in his second start against Northeastern on November 8. He struggled in his next start on November 12 giving up five goals on 21 shots as he continued to search for his form from two years ago. Gibson settled down a bit stopping 16 of 18 shots faced against Brown on November 23 and had a much better outing in his next game, stopping 22 of 23 shots faced in a 1-0 loss to New Hampshire. Gibson is 4-3-0 with a 2.41 GAA and a .897 save percentage so far thius season.

Again, the question with Gibson will be age. He is committed to completing his degree at Harvard (as he should), but he will be 24 when he could potentially arrive in South Carolina or Hershey. Not too old, but getting late in the game.


BRENT JOHNSON (RHD) – 18 – Drafted 2021 (Third Round, 80th Overall)
Johnson was a healthy scratch for all four games of the first and second weekend of the month. He finally started the 12th game of the season against Minnesota-Duluth on the right side of the third pair. He was back to the scratches list on November 26th and 27th against the Minnesota Gophers.

After playing in five games in October, Johnson played in just three games in November. For the season, he has one assist and is a -2 on the ice. He’s taken no shots in the eight games he’s played and blocked two shots.


JOAQUIM LEMAY (LHD) – 19 – Drafted 2021 (Fourth Round, 114th Overall)
Lemay scored his second goal of the season on 11/12. He also had an assist in the game.

Lemay had two assists on November 26 against Sioux Falls. For the month of November, Lemay had a goal and five assists in five games played.

For the season he has two goals and 12 assists in 16 games played and is a +0 on the ice. He’s shot the puck 23 times.


BENTON MAASS (RHD) – 23 – Drafted 2017 (Sixth-Round, 182nd Overall) Maass turned 23 on November 25. He would play in his first game on November 13 against Bowling Green and would score in the game.

Maass continues to play more of a defensive game, and is rarely involved in the offense. After recording a goal and an assist in seven games in October, Maass recorded a goal and an assist in eight games played in November. He’s shot the puck 25 times and is a +10 when on the ice. He’s blocked 15 shots in 15 games played.

Maass will be a free agent this summer should the Capitals not sign him prior to the free agency date.



DAMIEN RIAT (F) – 24 – DRAFTED 2016 (Fourth-Round, 117th Overall)
Riat remained absent from the rinks due to a thrombosis in one hand, but started training on November 18. Riat said that he works on his arm’s mobility and flexibility on a daily basis, but it takes time. Return was anticipated for a little before Christmas. Riat returned to on-ice workouts on November 24 and played his first game since October 2 on November 30.

Riat was originally diagnosed with a thrombosis in his hand the first week of October. He was the top scorer of the Lausanne HC (8 points in 9 games) at the time of his injury. Riat was projected to be out for a month, but the injury has extended through November.

He finished the months of September and October with three goals and five assists in nine games played prior to his injury.

According to Lamatin.ch, the possibility of seeing the 24-year-old winger returning to the Lausanne next season exists, further dimming hopes of him ever continuing his career in North America. An agreement would be in the air, even if the Lausanne boss Petr Svoboda, contacted, refused to confirm. Riat will be a restricted free agent next summer.


OSKAR MAGNUSSON (C/W) – 19 – 2020 Draft (Seventh Round, 211th Overall)
Magnusson was named to Sweden’s Junior Team roster for the training camp prior to the Four-Nation’s Tournament played in the middle of November. On Sunday, November 14, Sweden played Russia in the final game of the Four Nations tournament. Russia won the game 5-2 and won the tournament, but Magnusson scored a goal in the game to improve the score to 4-2. Magnusson played in three games in the tournament and scored one goal.

Swedish Hockey news wrote about Magnusson in mid-November: “A step down in the series system does not have to be something negative. In AIK, Magnusson gets more playing time than he got in the SHL and more chances to develop his game. A center that can do most things on the ice. All qualities are good with Magnusson, without for that matter stand out in the form of being super fast, shooting rock hard or offering circus passes with the puck. Wise and very all-round.“

In an interview with HockeySverige.se, Magnusson spoke about his decision to leave the Malmo RedHawks in the SHL for AIK in the HockeyAllsvenskan league (a step down). “There was probably no very long dialogue (with Malmö) or anything like that. I felt I needed new adventures and a new team to find a new development. I think I made the right decision and I’m happy with the decision I made.”

Magnusson also spoke about attending Capitals development Camp in September, and what he gleaned from the camp. “Experience, mainly. See how they train and what it takes to have a job over there. Lots of experience and it was just a positive experience. They want me to continue working on what I have started to build on. I will try to show that I am really good with the puck when I have it on the stick.”

Magnusson admits a big part of his decision to leave the SHL for the lesser HockeyAllsvenskan league was to play for a previous coach, Anton Blomqvist. Magnusson had Blomqvist as a coach in both Malmö’s J18 and J20 teams. It was also under Blomqvist’s leadership that the talent made his big breakthrough during the 2019-20 season.

“It’s nice to have a little security. I know how he is as a person and as a coach and at the same time he knows how I work on the ice. He gets good qualities out of me on the ice and makes me play my best hockey.”



BOGDAN TRINEYEV (F) – 19 – DRAFTED 2020 (Fouth-Round, 117th Overall)
Trineyev played three games for Moscow Dynamo in the KHL but had no points. He also participated in training camp for the Russian National U20 team and accompanied the team to the Four Nations tournament that took place from November 12-14 in Sweden, but was unable to get into any games.

Trineyev was listed as an “extra” player during one of the pre-game practices at the tournament. Unfortunately he was on the injured list for Moscow Dynamo in the KHL since the end of the Four Nations tournament. He returned to Dynamo’s lineup on November 30 as an extra in the lineup against Ak Bars.


Where are Connor McMichael and Martin Fehervary? – We’ve graduated them from our formal prospect pool. Should they return to Hershey we will re-introduce the to our monthly reports.

The following graphic is an updated running prospect roster.

By NoVa Caps Prospects Team

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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11 Responses to Washington Capitals Prospect Report – November, 2021: Joe Snively And Bear Hughes Continue To Surge

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for these regular reports and analysis. The best prospect coverage on the web. And you guys actually watch the games! Bravo.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Thank you, and yes we do. You have to. Two of have watched every Bears game for the last seven years (one in person for home game, the other via AHLTV). We also do our best to divvy up the other prospect games. No way to watch all of them, but we make sure we watch a least a few from most.

    • Anon says:

      I do not see Conner McMichael you did every other prospect that is called up why not him

      • Jon Sorensen says:

        Please reference very last paragraph of the report.

      • Sven says:

        Thanks for the report! Regarding ”waiver issues” and AJF. Can he be recalled again now? Play 8-9 new games not passing waivers or?

        • Jon Sorensen says:

          “13.22 When a Club claims a Player on Regular or Unconditional Waivers, and, subsequently, in the same season it requests Waivers on the same Player and the original owning Club is the successful and only Club making a Waiver claim, then the original owning Club shall be entitled to Loan such Player to a club in another league within thirty days without further Waivers being asked; provided that such Player has not participated in ten or more NHL Games (cumulative) and remained on an NHL roster more than thirty days (cumulative) following such successful claim.”

  2. Anonymous says:

    Snively deserves a call up. Great story.

  3. Wow, says:

    Wow, Fucale got shelled in his first game back in Hershey. I guess that’s somewhat understandable considering the week he had prior.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for these reports. Great updates and analysis as always.

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